A craving for synthetic cannabis led a 22-year-old man to demand cash and cigarettes at knifepoint in Greerton last month.

Aaron James Junior Hone pleaded guilty in the District Court, Tauranga, on Friday to a charge of assault with intent to rob at Greerton Liquor on February 17.

The unemployed Gate Pa man backed off when the woman behind the counter produced a softball bat, whacked it down on the counter and then raised it towards him.

The police summary said Hone was feeling the effect of being without synthetic cannabis for several days when he decided to rob in order to buy more cannabis.

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Taking a bag and kitchen knife from home, and wearing sunglasses to hide his identity, he walked through the Greerton Shopping Centre looking for a place to rob.

Police said Hone waited outside Greerton Liquor for several minutes before entering and approaching the counter.

He then put the bag on the counter and asked the person behind the counter for cigarettes and money, saying he did not have any money.

"When the victim declined to give him money, the defendant reached into the bag and produced a knife, holding it up and then replacing it into the bag."

Police said Hone then repeated his demand.

The woman managed to distract him, raised a baseball bat, grabbed a phone and called out "police, police".

She then struck the counter with the bat. Hone backed away from the counter and left the store to make his way back home.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of shoplifting at The Warehouse the next day where he stole two sweatshirts valued at $80.

Hone was remanded in custody to April 18 for sentencing